Given the right motivation, my kids will do anything!
My eldest, who is now 10, has just sidled up to me and asked if he can play extra computer instead of having a bedtime story! (Originally written 7 years ago!) Our kids are only allowed ½ hour computer time each a day and they’ve had it! (That’s sure changed now they’re older!)
I think about it. If he gets extra time, they will all want extra time. There’s four of them, and one computer. It’s only an hour till bedtime, and the house is a mess!
My husband’s away for the day, which is unusual on a Saturday.
The kids have been brilliant – organising and playing ‘fairs’ most of the day, setting up ‘stalls’ with unwanted toys and McDonald’s ‘junk’, buying things from each other, conducting raffles and ‘Guess How Many Sweets are in the Jar’ type competitions!
They have tidied up most of their toys but there are still sweet wrappers, raffle tickets and other bits and pieces all over the floor!
So…back to the extra computer time. I say, ‘Yes! You can have 15 minutes extra each if you completely tidy and vacuum the living room and hall.’
The excitement!! Off to work they go! All four of them tidying and vacuuming! Ten minutes and it’s all done – joyfully and eagerly.
They’re now settling down to their extra computer time. I’ve got some quiet to myself, a clean living room….and I don’t even have to read bedtime stories tonight!!
And my kids think they have the better end of the bargain!
I’ll let you draw your own conclusion from this tale, but let’s just say, it sure pays to find out what motivates your kids!
(PS. I have had my fair share of days ending with exhaustion, tears, dirty dishes, and floors that can’t be seen! Just to let you know!)
Over the years, we have found that reward is a far greater motivator than punishment or threat! Rewards we have used with our kids have included extra computer/TV time, stickers, food treats, reward charts leading up to a special prize, and money (the only thing that now motivates my teens!)
These days, there are some jobs that our kids just have to get on and do, with only a smile and a thank you as reward – washing up, cleaning bedrooms/bathrooms, and vacuuming. I think that because our kids got used to helping out (with lots of praise and reward) at a young age, it is now just a part of normal family life. We still have some very messy teen bedrooms….but they do get tidied up in between messes!
We are actually quite a mess-tolerant family. The last time we had a big tidy and clean, my daughter asked, ‘Is someone coming for dinner?’
How do you motivate your kids to help around the house?
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